Media Blog

NRO’s MSM watchdog.

Piers Morgan: President Obama Doesn’t Care About Guns


What an ass:

I might not agree with what President Obama or “his people” want to do about guns, but to say they “don’t care” about kids getting gunned down is reprehensible. 

Maybe the president just doesn’t want to appear with the unstable Piers Morgan to talk about guns. I’m sure the ladies from The View could get him on to talk about what he’s getting Michelle and the girls for Christmas.

Lara Logan Taking a Leave of Absence from 60 Minutes


Over her now discredited Benghazi report


Alec Baldwin Out at MSNBC


Richard Johnson of the New York Post’s Page Six reports:

A spokesman for Baldwin quibbled with the term “fired,” but confirmed, “The show is not coming back. He had questions on whether he wanted to continue.”

Now, how in the world does Martin Bashir still have a show? 

Pushback Against the WH Spin Machine


Last week, Ron Fournier of National Journal wrote a great piece calling out the White House for holding private events that were closed to the press, but later releasing photos of the events — thus guaranteeing that only approved and the most evocative images make it into the public domain. Fournier writes:

Obama’s Image Machine: Monopolistic Propaganda Funded by You
News organizations protest White House restrictions on independent photo coverage.

New York Times photographer Doug Mills strode into Jay Carney’s office Oct. 29 with a pile of pictures taken exclusively by President Obama’s official photographer at events the White House press corps was forbidden to cover. “This one,” Mills said, sliding one picture after another off his stack and onto the press secretary’s desk. “This one, too – and this one and this one and … .”

The red-faced photographer, joined by colleagues on the White House Correspondents’ Association board, finished his 10-minute presentation with a flourish that made Carney, a former Moscow correspondent for Time, wince.

“You guys,” Mills said, “are just like Tass.”

Comparing the White House to the Russian news agency is a hyperbole, of course, but less so with each new administration. Obama’s image-makers are taking advantage of new technologies that democratized the media, subverting independent news organizations that hold the president accountable. A generation ago, a few mainstream media organizations held a monopoly on public information about the White House. Today, the White House itself is behaving monopolistic.

The fast-moving trend is hampering reporters and videographers who cover the White House, but Mills’ profession has probably been hardest hit. “As surely as if they were placing a hand over a journalist’s camera lens, officials in this administration are blocking the public from having an independent view of important functions of the Executive Branch of government,” reads a letter delivered today to Carney by the WHCA and several member news organizations including The Associated Press and The New York Times.

The letter includes examples of important news events that were not covered by media photographers, and yet pictures were taken by the White House image team and widely distributed via social media. This happens almost daily.

Unlike media photographers, official White House photographers are paid by taxpayers and report to the president. Their job is to make Obama look good. They are propagandists – in the purest sense of the word.

The letter reminds Carney that Obama promised to run the most transparent administration in history. It argues that the restrictions “raise constitutional concerns” and amount to “arbitrary restraint and unwarranted interference on legitimate newsgathering activities.”

Newspapers, however, have started to push back. USA Today announced yesterday that it won’t publish the White House’s pre-selected images any longer.

And FWIW, here’s admin spokesman Josh Earnest answered the question in response to Fournier’s piece (Major Garret with the first question):

Q    Last question.  I’m on the White House Correspondents Association Board and it’s mine and many other news organizations that presented to you and the White House a letter today about this issue of access — photographic access, but it’s a broader question — and the White House insistence of excluding independent photojournalists from events that historically have been available to those journalists for the public consumption.  I’d like to give you a chance to respond to this letter and the combined assessment of many journalism organizations for the White House to reassess the policy as it’s currently executed.
MR. EARNEST:  Well, Major, on the campaign trail in 2008, the President talked a lot about his commitment to transparency, and that is something that the President in office has worked very hard to live up to.  There are a variety of ways in which he has done that.  But one way in which he and we have done that on his behalf is that literally every single day — every single day — at the end of our day, we take a look at the President’s schedule, consider the things that are on there, and look for ways that we can give journalists who cover the White House access to the President; that we can give you and your colleagues a better understanding of what the President is doing, why he is pursuing the priorities that he has identified, and how we hope to make progress on those priorities.  That is a basic function of the presidency, is laying out that agenda and communicating with the American public about what it is and why it is a priority.  
So this is something that we tackle every single day.  But it is the responsibility of those of you who are sitting in those seats to push for more.  You’re supposed to be agitating for more access.  If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be doing your job.  So the fact that there is a little bit of a disagreement between the press corps and the White House Press Office about how much access the press corps should have to the President is built into the system.  Like I said, if that tension didn’t exist, then either you or we are not doing our job.
So suffice it to say that we remain fully committed to trying to give you and the American public access to the President and as much insight as possible into how the President is spending his day, to what priorities the President has identified, and what he’s actually doing to make progress on those priorities.
Q    That tension has long existed, you’re absolutely right. I know it.  I’ve experienced it under different administrations. What is different and what this letter goes to is events that we used to have access to before that we’re denied, and then the White House produces its own photography of that event in a way that seems completely designed to exclude independent eyeballs and only have the taxpayer-funded eyeballs of the person who works for the President of the United States.
MR. EARNEST:  Sure.  And I understand why, from your perspective, why it might seem that way.  But what we have actually done is used a range of new technology to provide people greater access to the President; that there are certain circumstances where it is simply not feasible to have independent journalists in the room when the President is making decisions.  So rather than close that off to the American public, what we’ve done is we’ve taken advantage of new technology to give the American public even greater access to behind-the-scenes footage or photographs of the President doing his job.  
 So I understand why that is the source of some consternation to people in this room, but to the American public that’s a clear win.  That is people having access because of new technology to things that they’ve never seen before.  And so that’s something that we have remained committed to and that’s something that we’ll continue to do.  But that has never been viewed internally here at the White House as a substitute for the important work that’s done by free and independent journalists.
Q    Josh?
Q    In keeping with that commitment, can you –
MR. EARNEST:  Yes, as a former president.
Q    As a former president, I support Major’s questions and I think they are important questions.
MR. EARNEST:  They are.
Q    Because when you say that you’re providing more access to the American people — you’re shutting off independent journalists who want to cover those events and you’re having people who work for the President actually cover the events.  How is that independent?  How is that more access for the American people?
MR. EARNEST:  I think what I described, Ed, is that there are certain circumstances where it’s not feasible for independent journalists to be covering the President.  I think the best example of this would be in the Situation Room of the White House where, when the President is talking about classified issues, it’s just not feasible for us to have those discussions at –
Q    That’s an outlier, Josh —  
MR. EARNEST:  Well, it’s just not feasible for us to have independent journalists in the room.
Q    What about meeting with faith leaders?  How is that disruptive to bring in –
MR. EARNEST:  Let me finish my answer –
Q    Okay.
MR. EARNEST:  – which is, where it’s just not feasible in those circumstances.  So we have done — what we’ve done is we’ve capitalized on new technology that exists — Flickr, Instagram, digital photos that can be easily emailed — to give people pictures of what’s happening in those circumstances.  
That is not a replacement for independent journalism.  That is not a replacement or a substitute for giving independent journalists access to the President and the job that he’s doing.  We remain very committed to making sure that independent journalists are documenting what the President is doing.  We want the American people to have a very clear view of the President’s priorities.  We want people to understand how hard the President is working to pursue the priorities that he’s laid out that a majority of the American public supports.
So it’s in our interest to work closely with you to give you access so that the American public clearly understands what it is the President is doing.  I understand that you guys aren’t going to agree with every single decision that we make along these lines, but I think what we do agree on is that the principle of unfettered access to the President of the United States on a regular basis by independent, professional journalists is an important priority and a hallmark of our democracy.  That is a — that is something that we agree on and that is — that will be a principle guiding the way that we make these decisions moving forward, as it has been in the past.

And finally, here’s what looks to be e a giant middle-finger to the press corps. Team Obama listed this as their “photo of the day” after the article and questioning. See, we let you take pictures! 

With the uncertain future of, this administration is really going to go with the “hey, let’s see how angry we can get the press corps” as its media strategy? Good luck with that.



Law of Omerta at MSNBC


Chris Matthews won’t say anything bad about Martin Bashir because he’s a colleague. Oh, and Matthews says he’s not a “media critic.” Via today’s Washington Post:

EWB: Do you have any comments about the trouble that Martin Bashir got himself in?

Matthews: Not really. I work in that company. I don’t have any comment on it. I can understand that you’d ask the question, but I work for MSNBC.

EWB: Well, it’s just a question, though. I mean, he’s a colleague, he said something. You have opinions. You’d have an opinion if someone else worked at another network…

Matthews: I’m not a media critic.

EWB: Oh, yes you are.

Matthews: No, I’m not…He’s a colleague of mine.

Yeah. Not a “media critic” except for the bajillion times he criticizes Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, or anybody else in the conservative media he disagrees with.




NYT Give Chris Matthews’s Book a Scathing Review


I’m not sure this is the type of review Chris Matthews was hoping for from the Times of his new book, Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked. “It’s a nice idea for a book, if only it were true”:

Ever since our national politics dissolved into a miasma of polarization and strident punditry — which means either the Clinton pseudoscandals or the John Adams administration, depending on your historical reference point — Washington pontificators have waxed wistful for gentler times. In the glow of nostalgia, even ideologues and scoundrels come to resemble civic-minded statesmen who put aside partisanship to broker compromises.

This romantic tendency usually makes for bad history. A few good books have mined the vein — including last year’s overlooked “The Last Great Senate: Courage and Statesmanship in Times of Crisis,” by Ira Shapiro, a former Senate aide — but Chris Matthews’s “Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked” isn’t one of them. A former speechwriter for Jimmy Carter and aide to the House speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill Jr. (one of his subjects here), Matthews is best known today as an ­MSNBC talking head — snarling head, some might say — a kind of Democratic Pat Buchanan giving voice to the resentments of the disgruntled middle class. For those familiar with his brand of confidently asserted overgeneralization, the book is about what you would expect.

The 1980 elections made Ronald Reagan the most conservative American president since before the New Deal and gave the Republicans control of the Senate for the first time since the ’50s. Protecting Social Security, the progressive tax code and other fixtures of the postwar economy fell above all to O’Neill, a corpulent, old-style, steaks-and-cigars Boston Irish pol. The conceit of “Tip and the Gipper” is that for all their ideological differences, Reagan and O’Neill liked each other enough to put politics aside at 6 o’clock — a line Matthews repeats throughout the book — and strike deals in everyone’s interest.

It’s a nice idea for a book, if only it were true.

The rest here.


MSNBC’s Alec Baldwin Peddling JFK Conspiracy Theories


Via his Twitter feed:


George W. Bush Sits Down with Jay Leno


It’s really a great interview. (President Bush starts at 16:22):



Compare and Contrast: Lincoln vs. Obama


The entire Gettysburg Address was 272 words long.

President Obama’s last speech — in Cleveland, Ohio — was around 3,600 words

Too many words matter. 


Martin Bashir Apologizes


You can watch it here, but as I wrote yesterday, it’s not enough. MSNBC should still fire him.

As it stands now, though, MSNBC has yet to discipline him, let alone fire him. 

MSNBC’s Other Problem: Martin Bashir


A few days ago, Sarah Palin compared the debt we’re racking up and will eventually owe to other countries with ”slavery.” Personally I would put slavery in the same category as Hitler as there’s nothing in the American political debate that compares to actual slavery or Hitler. But instead of just commenting on his displeasure with Palin’s analogy, Martin Bashir went to a place so awful that he should be fired (and I’ve never called for any cable host to be fired before).

Newsbusters has the full transcript, but the summary is Bashir, after telling of a horrific punishment of slaves in Jamaica that involved defecating in a slave’s mouth and urinating in his eyes, Bashir ended his segment suggesting Palin endure the same humiliation:

When Mrs. Palin invoked slavery, she doesn’t just prove her rank ignorance. She confirms that if anyone truly qualified for a dose of discipline from Thomas Thistlewood, then she would be the outstanding candidate.

MSNBC should get rid of him. No suspension like Alec Baldwin. No on air-apology like Ed Schultz over his horrible comment about Laura Ingraham. Fired. Now. 


SNL’s Fake Ad: Obama Takes Paxil ‘Second-Term Strength’


MSNBC Suspends Alec Baldwin


MSNBC suspended Alec Baldwin over his anti-gay tirade for two shows — November 15 and November 22. 

But Baldwin wrote on Saturday over at the HuffPo that there’s a chance the suspension becomes a cancellation:

I think it is important to note, in light of recent events, a couple of clarifications.

One is that I never used the word faggot in the tape recording being offered as evidence against me. What word is said right after the other choice word I use is unclear. But I can assure you, with complete confidence, that a direct homophobic slur (or indirect one for that matter) is not spoken. In the wake of referring to a tabloid “journalist” as a toxic queen, I would never allow myself to make that mistake again, nor would I expose my wife and family to the attendant ridicule. My friends who happen to be gay are baffled by this. They see me as one who has recently fought for marriage equality and has been a supporter of gay rights for many years. Now, the charge of being a “homophobic bigot,” to quote one crusader in the gay community, is affixed.

Note: Baldwin doesn’t name the “crusader,” but Andrew Sullivan did label Baldwin a “homophobic bigot.”

Another issue I want to address is the decision by MSNBC to suspend my show. Whether the show comes back at all is at issue right now. My producers and I had a very enlightening and well-researched program prepared to air on November 22nd itself, dealing with John Kennedy’s assassination. That show is off the air now. I am deeply apologetic to Ron Fried, who worked extremely hard with me on that show. It’s heartbreaking to me that the show, meant to coincide with the actual anniversary, will not be aired that night. The show is no doubt a work in progress and one that I believe featured some interesting guests and disseminated a good deal of interesting information. But if the show dies, its fate ends up being no different than the vast majority of start-up TV programming, and so be it. We do take a small amount of pride in knowing that we beat CNN in the ratings each of our nights. (I forget who they had on at that time.)

And we were this close to finding out the truth about Kennedy thanks to Baldwin, and now that report is lost to history. The rest of Baldwin’s nonsense here.

Literally Stupid at MSNBC


Earlier today on MSNBC’s “Now With Alex” program, MSNBC host Karen Finney said insurance companies were “literally getting away with murder.”

And then whoever runs the Twitter account for “Now With Alex” thought that statement was literally good enough to post:


Alec Baldwin Celebrates Court Victory with Anti-Gay Rant


It will be hard for MSNBC to keep Alec Baldwin around after this. There’s really no way to spin calling a photographer a c*******ing f*g.

Alec Baldwin, FWIW, denies what he allegedly said on camera is what he said:


Alex Baldwin’s Stalker Found Guilty


Details here. And it looks like the defense never called Martin Bregman, who accused Baldwin of lying during his testimony.

Update: Alec Baldwin’s Accuser Takes the Stand


Via the New York Times:

A woman accused of stalking Alec Baldwin took the witness stand on Wednesday to describe a romantic night she said she had with Mr. Baldwin in February 2010.

The woman, Genevieve Sabourin, 41, lit up when she talked about a monthlong telephone flirtation with the actor that led him to invite her to spend a weekend with him in New York.

He charmed her, she said, driving through Central Park, taking her to a popular new play, introducing her to actors backstage, then on to a quiet dinner at Elios Restaurant. The night ended at the Hotel Lowell, where, she said, they had sex.

“It was a beautiful, romantic evening,” she testified. Later she added, “It was more than romantic; it was perfect.”

Her testimony contrasted sharply with Mr. Baldwin’s account on Tuesday. He testified that he met Ms. Sabourin only once, to advise her about her acting career; he denied having a sexual tryst with her.

The proceedings in Ms. Sabourin’s trial on stalking and harassment charges had barely gotten underway on Wednesday when Judge Robert Mandelbaum lost patience with her repeated outbursts and ordered her to spend 30 days in jail for contempt of court.

“That’s it,” he said, when Ms. Sabourin complained loudly that her lawyer had not called a particular witness. “You are held in contempt.”

Ms. Sabourin broke into tears and delivered a long, rambling monologue about how the pressures of the trial had worn her down. “I couldn’t sleep last night,” she said. “I couldn’t eat for two weeks. They vilify me in the press. They beat me up for two years.”

But an hour later, she was beaming when she started testifying about what she described as a love affair with Mr. Baldwin.

Ms. Sabourin, a Canadian publicist and aspiring actress, met Mr. Baldwin in 2000 during the filming of the sci-fi comedy “The Adventures of Pluto Nash.” He had a cameo role, and she was a publicist, working for the producer, Martin Bregman.

Imagine if all this does go against Alec Baldwin, he can point to Pluto Nash as the event in his life where it all went wrong. An instant classic. 

‘Journalistic Review’ Begins at CBS over 60 Minutes Benghazi Report



When “60 Minutes,” perhaps the United States’ premier news program, apologized for featuring a security contractor in its report on Benghazi whose story turned out to be a lie, it said had been “misled.” But a close examination of the controversial piece by McClatchy shows that there are other problems with the report, which renewed debate about one of the most contentious events in recent U.S. diplomatic history.

In its first acknowledgement that the issues with the report may go deeper than just the interview with security supervisor Dylan Davies, CBS on Wednesday, in response to a series of questions posed by McClatchy, said that it had begun “a journalistic review that is ongoing.”

“60 Minutes” spokesman Kevin Tedesco said the review had begun as soon as questions were raised about the piece, but he declined to elaborate in an email exchange and did not respond to the specific issues McClatchy raised.

The rest here.

Did MSNBC’s Alec Baldwin Just Lie in His Stalker Trial?


Yesterday, Alec Baldwin testified — with tears in his eyes – that he had no romantic relationship with the woman he has accused of stalking him, and the only reason he was talking with her was to help out his pal, producer Martin Bregman:

He hurled insults at a Post photographer on his way into court – and even offered the shutterbug a death wish on his way out — but hotheaded Alec Baldwin reserved his best emoting for the witness stand.

The rage-filled, former “30 Rock” star appeared to choke up on cue, dabbing at his eyes with a finger, as he described a March 2012 encounter with accused stalker Genevieve Sabourin shortly after his engagement to his wife, Hilaria. [. . .]

He testified that he didn’t see her again until 2010 when he went to dinner in New York with filmmaker Martin Bregman and Sabourin, whom he described as the “Scarface” producer’s mistress.

“Marty called me told me he needed my help. That Marty Bregman was ending his relationship with her. He wanted to help get her a job. She wanted to be an actress — he wanted me to meet her to help with her potential acting career,” Baldwin said.

Baldwin then testified that he wanted to try to help his friend — an influential producer whose credits also included other Al Pacino hits like “Carlito’s Way” and “Dog Day Afternoon,” among other hits.

“Bregman asked me to do it as a favor. I wanted to handle the situation as delicately as I could knowing this was Marty’s girlfriend. The issue as I saw then was that she was 39 years old at the time, she was a French Canadian with a discernible accent… and the most I could offer her [was] advice on was where to study acting,” Baldwin testified.

Oh really? That’s not the same story Martin Bregman is telling reporters today:

Now Alec Baldwin has a reason to cry.

The actor’s claim that he never had sex with the French-Canadian actress accused of stalking him was called a lie Tuesday by his supposed friend, “Scarface” producer Martin Bregman.

“He’s lying,” Bregman told the Daily News after the first day of Genevieve Sabourin’s sensational trial wrapped. “He was screwing two women. One of them is his present wife and the other one, I presume, he was doing the girl in question.”

Bregman was referring to Baldwin’s wife, Hilaria, and the alleged stalker.

“To sidestep any involvement with (Sabourin), he made up a report,” said Bregman, who called the move “pretty stupid.”

Baldwin, who got teary-eyed on the stand as he denied seducing Sabourin, insisted she had been Bregman’s longtime mistress. He testified that Bregman introduced her to him in 2002 at a lunch in Montreal.

Bregman laughed at the notion of “having an affair with a woman that’s considerably younger” and said they noshed with another woman.

“I’m 87 years old and that’s very flattering, but that’s all it is,” he told The News.

Over to you Alec.

Tweet of the Day: Former Obama Speechwriter vs. Sen. Feinstein


From former speechwriter Jon Lovett on Senator Feinstein signing on to Sen. Landrieu’s bill to “keep your coverage.”

So Feinstein should have done a better job keeping President Obama in check regarding the NSA? 


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